As the world becomes more and more developed, sources of raw materials become scarcer. At the same time, the demand for new technology increases, leading to greater consumption of resources. This phenomenon is particularly felt in the recycling industry, where old materials are reused to conserve natural resources.
Copper has been used for thousands of years due to its many desirable properties, such as strength and electrical conductivity. However, extracting copper from ore is an energy-intensive process, meaning that a lot of energy is needed to produce each ton of copper metal.
Recycling copper wire helps to reduce this environmental impact, as well as to conserve the copper itself. Copper wire can be recycled repeatedly without any loss of quality, making it an environmentally friendly option.
How Is It Done?
The process of recycling copper wire is more straightforward than you might think. In fact, it only takes four main steps.
1. Gather The Copper
Think of all the electrical appliances in your home. Chances are, they’re all connected by copper wire. This wire is what will be recycled. To gather the copper, a recycling plant will first need to collect all the old appliances. They can partner with electronics stores or set up collection points in public places.
Once the appliances have been collected, the recycling company will use cutting tools and pliers to strip the copper wire. Powered claws make quick work of stripping insulation from copper wire.
2. Process The Copper
The next step is to process the piles of old copper wire, which involves breaking up the old wires into small pieces or shards. It is essential to do this before the melting process, as it makes it easier to melt different-sized wires.
3. Melt The Copper
The copper shards are then placed in a furnace and heated until they melt. This process can reach temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees Celsius! Once the copper has melted, it is poured into molds called ‘pigs.’ These molds help to give the new wire its shape.
4. Create New Wire
The final step is to take the pigs of molten copper and draw them through a series of rollers. This process stretches and thins the copper until it resembles wire once again. The newly-formed wires are then cooled and coiled, ready to be used in new appliances and devices.
What Does This Mean For The Industry?
The recycling of copper wire is an important innovation for the industry, as it helps to reduce the environmental impact of copper production. It also conserves the copper itself, meaning less need for ore mining. This is a sustainable and environmentally friendly solution that we can use repeatedly.
Now, we need more copper to be recycled to meet the demand for new technology. Here is where you can help! The next time you upgrade your phone or buy a new appliance, recycle the old one. By doing this, you’ll be playing your part in preserving our natural resources.
Not enough people realize how easy it is to recycle copper wire. Hopefully, this article has shown you how simple the process is and encourages them to follow suit.
Don’t forget to share this article!